Tips for reducing your teen’s risk of misusing prescription painkillers

  • Closeup of male hand unlocking cabinet nattul—Getty Images/iStockphoto

  • Oxycodone is the generic name for a range of opoid pain killing tablets. Prescription bottle for Oxycodone tablets and pills on wooden table with USA flag in background Steve Heap

Published: 9/26/2018 10:06:31 AM

■  Consider non-medical interventions including the tried-and-true RICE  (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method.

■  Try physical therapy, massage, acupuncture or meditation as alternatives to pain medication.

■  In the event of an injury, ask your treating physician whether other medical interventions might be effective, such as nerve blockers or high-dose anti-inflammatory drugs.

■  When medicating, try lower-level interventions first. Studies show that alternating doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be as effective, if not more, than opiates.

■  If a dentist or doctor is writing a prescription for 15 or 30 opiates, ask if the number can be smaller.

■  If you have a large quantity prescribed, ask your pharmacist for a partial fill. This means, if you need more, you can go back to the pharmacy to get more, but you won’t have excess pills around the house.

■  Lock all medicines. Websites such as LockMed and Pill Pod sell a variety of locking cases so families can find the option that works best for their needs.

■  Never let your teens self-administer opiates, no matter how responsible they are. “It is never appropriate that a child or young teen or even an older teenager manages their pain pills alone at home,” said Greenfield Dr. Ruth Potee in a video titled “Athletes, Opioids & Addiction.”

■  If you have excess opiate medication, or any medication not being used, drop it off in a prescription drug drop box found at most police stations. In addition, there will be local participation in the national Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 27, 10-2 p.m. at locations around Hampshire and Franklin counties. For more information, visit

To view “Athletes, Opioids & Addiction,” visit:

For free copies of the state Department of Public Health publication “Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse Among Student Athletes,” visit

Also on the Mass Clearinghouse site (which provides its materials at no cost) you can also find a helpful guide for speaking to teens titled “To help protect your kids, talk to them about opioids. Stop addiction before it starts.”

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